Well, well…..seems the Idaho lottery is doing just fine, thank you, bringing in some $72 million in record revenue this past year, more than half of which goes directly to Idaho schools.
Yet unbelievably, ten members of the House State Affairs committee voted in March to end the Powerball game after they were stampeded by rightist committee crazies to fear intrusion from foreign governments. (Associated Press, 3/10)
And who might those dangerous foreign powers be? Australia and Great Britain, you know, those other democratic republics and American allies on many issues.
But to members like Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, any involvement with another country leads inevitably to world socialism, ala the United Nations and reduces American national and state sovereignty. So, no lottery which allows other new nations to participate, even though Canada is already a member and has stricter gun control laws than the United States.
It’s hard to see how adding Great Britain and Australia would harm American sovereignty in any way, much less the limited state sovereignty of Idaho. This is yet another bogeyman dragged out to sway emotional opinion. It’s an old ploy of fanatics everywhere who prey on public ignorance to advance their own one world authoritarian order.
A delay in admitting Australia and Great Britain kicked the decision at least a year away and lottery officials hope to resolve it by then. Meanwhile, the popular Powerball game continues to add record revenue to Idaho schools, an estimated $45 million, some $15 million over last year. Over its three-decade life, the lottery has brought in over $1 billion for schools and other public buildings. (IdahoEdNews, 7/16)
The money is wisely earmarked for public buildings and school building support, which many small school districts struggle to fund. But if the knot-head crazies prevail, there goes that revenue.
This is what ideological extremism looks like: even beneficial, popular, revenue-generating activity which helps schools like the Powerball game can’t pass conspiracy thinking, for which Scott and others are well known. Welcome to Cuba, Venezuela or the Soviet Union, just with a “Ruby Ridge” Idaho twist.
If these malcontents expand their power, we will see a Legislature dominated by even more extremists spouting crazy ideas they glean from troll-heavy blogs. This trend has been underground in Idaho politics for many years, but only recently have the extremists gotten undue media attention.
IdahoEdNews (7/16) has a good list of these extremists, most of whom are in the House with concentrations in eastern Idaho and North Idaho. The Magic Valley and the Pocatello areas have not escaped this trend, but are not dominated by it. This group of approximately 20 legislators most often votes as a block on social issues, education funding and numerous other hot-button proposals.
Following the directives of the Idaho Slavery Foundation for example, these legislators oppose public school funding in toto and would like to see huge cuts in university budgets. Who needs colleges or universities? To them, traditional education is superfluous. For example, Sen. Christy Zito, R-Hammett, opposed universities budgets and said trade school was all Idaho young people needed. She’s even voted against CSI’s appropriation. How’s that for short-sightedness.
This kind of public official illiteracy is a sad reflection on the state of affairs which infects Idaho’s political rightists. It seems to come from websites with little credibility but whose intent is to overturn republican democracy wherever it may be found.
Their idea of government is one in which only they exercise power, limit speech and impose their own distorted values on the rest of us. As puppets of the Idaho Slavery Foundation, they take their directives from out-of-state oligarchs and special interests, which is then filtered across Idaho by biased blogs and radio blowhards. They’ll continue these efforts until the voters have enough.
Stephen Hartgen, Twin Falls, is a retired five-term Republican member of the Idaho House of Representatives, where he served as chairman of the Commerce & Human Resources Committee. Previously, he was editor and publisher of The Times-News (1982-2005). He can be reached at Stephen_Hartgen@hotmail.com.